05 February 2007
It is a point of contention between myself and my British-born boyfriend that I have never visited London. Despite all my travels, I’ve never made it there, unless a layover at Heathrow counts. When he first learned of this I was subjected to an all-out London campaign: London postcards in my mailbox, a London travel book curiously left in my apartment, the bombardment of Cadbury chocolates. But it was a little book lurking on my local library shelf that convinced me that London is the place to be.
The Moro Cookbook is a wonderful collection of recipes from the eponymous London restaurant. The recipes take inspiration from Middle Eastern and North African cooking but with a modern twist. I often find ‘Middle Eastern inspired’ recipes fall flat because the original version is just so much better, but that is not the case here. The authors, Sam and Samantha Clark, have managed to use many Middle eastern ingredients in new and innovative ways. In this case, rose petal jam (which is wonderful, find yourself a jar now!), and a fragrant warm spice rub for quail.
I adore quail, something about the perfect portioning for one person, the elegant little bones, the meaty flavor. This is the best preparation for quail I’ve encountered yet, make sure not to over cook them or they’ll become tough. I served mine with the jam on the side and with a nice triangle of minted mushy peas, keeping some of that British inspiration.
Grilled Quail with Rose Petal Sauce
4 quails, split down the backbone with scissors and flattened out
for the marinade:
1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 level teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons rosewater
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup rose-petal jam
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a squeeze of lemon
candied rose petals or pomegranate seeds
- Mix all the ingredients of the marinade together and rub all over the quail. Place in a dish and marinate for at least 2 hours or in the fridge overnight.
- To make the sauce, mix the rose-petal jam (or substitute quince paste with rose-water) and cinnamon together in a bowl. Add the lemon juice and taste for seasoning.
- Heat a grill pan and brush well with oil. Grill the quail for 5-8 minutes each side until the meat is no longer pink but is still juicy. Serve the quail with the rose petal jam on the side and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, candied rose petals, or pistachios.
Mercedes notes: I only marinated about an hour and I used one of those counter-top press grills (don’t press down hard though), and it was done in about 6 minutes and delicious.